Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mixtape Review: "Rhyme & Noodles: No Artificial Flavoring Vol. 1" by Eric Sosa

1. Do Something (Freestyle)
Crisp production all around from vocals to beat. Sosa definitely has a mainstream/commercial appeal to his over all style, but especially his delivery. A few decent couplets and multi-syllabic rhymes here and there. “No woody” line was corny. “Ambidextrous/upper hand” nice.

2. Clothes off
Very basic and commercial chorus. The beat is catchy. Vocals a little low. “Tug of war with the phone line” nice. “Ice the champagne and spread it on the toast” what? “If we were figure skating it breaks ice” I get the metaphor but it does not fit well into the verse like an irrelevant side note. “Dinner for two” haha! Not really feelin’ the singing on this track so the extension of the choruses and added bridge do not help the song.

3. One Night ft. Mayo
Beat is ok. Chorus is super-repetitive but bearable. A lot of scattered similes and metaphors that either don’t make sense or are poorly set up. “Circle of trust/scars on my wrist/cuffs/lock” nice, but could have been better written. Some lyrics were too abstract. The chorus is too repetitive to repeat so many times at the end.

4. 87209
Dope beat. Simple chorus but works alright. “Prada wearin devil/band” Sounds forced, but makes more sense with further explanation in the verse. “Couldn’t stick/butter” dope! “Deeper than your knees” nice. “Stretchin the truth/we could split” tight. “Worried/were we” flip, nice lil nook. Digging the content, real personal. “Blue in the chin” quirky, hehe. “Lose when you win” ok. “Accident prone” sick. A lot of name-dropping and references most people won’t get. “Fish skin” not bad. Two choruses in 6 minutes? Sos’ went in.

5. One You (snippet) ft. Rocki Evans
Pleasant beat and chorus. Forced poetic devices jammed together. “gym/Gimme a bitch” ok. Very short snippet. Hilarious, hilarious, hilarious skit after the snippet about, you guessed it, noodles.

6. Superglue ft. Chaundon
This beat… is a BANANA FACTORY. “Knees/heels” too abstract. “Hyphens” forced. The “grimy voice” on the chorus is not well delivered and laughable, A for effort though. Chaun – Nice voice. Rudimentary flow and lyrics. Eric – “It says hi to me” forced and quirky. The track was decent, but this beat deserved to be viciously ripped.

7. Summer of Love
Cool sample and beat that absolutely gives off the summer vibe. Welcomed change in flow. I like the techno segue at the second chorus. Officially dancing in my seat right now. “Hard beat need a clone” ok. “Beathe on your own” haha. “Not smart to bark with lungs of wood when I guess” what the..!? The “hey-hey” bridges are alright, works for the club scene this song is targeting.

+ Tight beat selection overall.
+ Quite a few standout lines.
+ Diverse range of topics which he followed well.

- Quite a few abstract, forced, subliminal, or nonsensical lines.
- Solid flow, although it was very similar throughout. “Summer of Love provided the only real exception to Eric’s default flow.
- His delivery was not very accessible for me. At first, I wasn’t digging it, but it grew on me over the course of the tape.

Compatibility/Appeal Rating:
Underground: 35%
Mainstream: 65%

Favorite Song: 87209

Face Value: 8/10



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Album Review: "Untitled 'Til This Day" by Rebels Music Empire (R.Me)

1. Intro-BBQ
Starts off with a strong spoken word intro. Skit comes in, interesting. “She’s pregnant… Pregnant again”, haha. Other than that, not much else to this intro.

2. Back to Business
The beat is a head-boppin’ piano jam.
1st – Nice flow and delivery. Pronunciation could be better. Some decent multi-syllabic rhymes. Chorus is pretty decent, not much microphone presence on it though. It should pop a little more than that.
2nd – Mic presence lacking somewhat. I’m not sure if it’s really the vocal engineering or how he’s spitting. “Achoo” line was alright.
3rd – Vocals are too low. Nice rhyme scheme.

3. Please Smoke Weed B4 Rapping
The beat is bananas. 1st – Great energy and delivery. Fairly simple punchlines. Chorus is decent, fits well with the beat well though.
2nd – Nice vocal effects. “Cat/kittens” weak.
3rd – Feelin’ the energy. The vocal mixing sounds weird though, too much echoing. “Flow/swimming” ok flip on a played metaphor.
4th – Dope beatswitch for the drinker of the bunch. Voice fits the beat well and sets a mellow tone precisely.

4. Run Dem
Eerie start flips into a part wild west, part Caribbean type beat. 1st – Vocals are low. Solid storytelling.
2nd – Detailed imagery. Good vocal effects. The chorus is well-fitting of the beat and very catchy. Repetitive, but it works.
3rd – “Not miss a beat like metronome” too simple.

5. Follow Da Lead
Another club-ready beat that is an appealing blend of dancehall and hip-hop. The chorus is very repetitive but works for this type of song.
1st – “Harder than jawbreakers” too basic. Nice delivery, but presence is too hushed.
2nd – Pronunciation could be better and/or vocals are too low. Dope rhyme scheme and delivery.
3rd – Pronunciation and vocal clarity is an issue here as well. Breath control needs some work.

6. Ric Flair
Cool intro that leads into a jumpin’ beat. 1st – Solid, mainstreamish delivery. The chorus is catchy and clever.
2nd – A couple pronunciation slips. Good flow. 3rd – Nice mic presence in this track, sound like it was mixed differently than on previous tracks. Tight multi-syllabic rhymes.

7. The Gritty Rhyme Syndrome
Intriguing intro. 1st – “Blink of a lazy eye” nice. Rhyme scheme on-point.
2nd – “Long stick like Donatello” haha. “Jello”, predictable. This beat is somewhat odd. The piano melody is distracting at first, but you get used to it, then the chorus has a synth melody that is completely unexpected. The chorus itself is alright.
3rd – Tight energy with a slight LL-type flow. Rashid comes with a versatile flow on the bottom half of the verse.
A bridge with a more cymbal-sounding melody takes over, but is filled with repetitive chants.

8. Carrie Fever
1st – “Thighs begin” nice. Efficient lyrical progression. Chorus is ok, but sets a commercial tone for the track. The beat is smooth but uptempo.
2nd – Pungent delivery. 3rd – Slight lisp, but doesn’t detract much from the track. Very mainstream-focused track on an underground-type beat.

9. Hypnosis
1st – Some distortion in vocals. Basic lyrics. Chorus is dope, digging the singing.
2nd - “Cypher decipher” nice. Solid flow. 3rd – Straightforward lines that don’t show much poetic imagination.
4th – Tight multi-syllabic rhyme structure.

10. Oxygen
Pretty decent, synthy beat. 1st – Vocals are low. The chorus sounds dope, but the vocals are too muted there as well.
2nd - “Like a gallery” ok. “Waves” reaching a little on that metaphor.
3rd – Can’t understand a lot of what’s going on here due to the vocals being so low.

11. Light A Cigarette
1st – Good delivery. Chorus is catchy, but cloud 9 is cliché, especially in this point of the album after multiple similar references. Also, I can’t say I support cigarette advertising.
2nd – “Like a record when it plays” mediocre.
3rd – Sick flow.

12. Africa
Very hype beat. 1st – feeling the Jamaican-style delivery. “Flip me that money/spatula” played. 2nd – Solid rhyme scheme. The short chorus is ok.
3rd – Nice content. “We all got abducted”. 4th – “tiger as a pet” hehe. 5th – Tight delivery.

13. Skit-Pussy
Chuckle-worthy skit.

14. Tables Turn
Story concept feeding straight off of the skit. 1st – Nice flow. “Punched me in the brain” too simple. Vocal effect/delivery is annoying on the chorus.
2nd – Tight delivery. Vocals could have been mixed better and made louder.
3rd – Rhyme scheme is on-point.

15. Eulogy
1st – Tight multi-syllabics. Flow is consistent and solid. Chorus is charismatic and energetic.
2nd – No mic presence and very low on energy. A few competetent multisyllabic rhymes.
3rd – Basic rhyme scheme. No standout lines.
4th – Appropriate energy and delivery. Pronunciation slips.

+ Awesome beat selection.
+ Song topics, flows, and deliveries fit the beats well.
+ Strong delivery and thematic cohesion between members.
+ Nice use of skits.

- Vocal mixing was definitely a huge stain on the project. Much of the lyrics were inaudible and incoherent.
- Pronunciation was a factor, although this may have had something to do with the awful mixing.
- Lyrics were not at all complex.

Compatibility/Appeal Rating:
Underground: 30%
Mainstream: 70%

Favorite Song: Run Dem

Face Value: 7.8/10



Friday, March 12, 2010

Mixtape Review: "For The Love of Dilla" by Dremur

Straight-to-the-point intro that is a talk and rhyme hybrid. Beat starts up along with many quotes about J Dilla.. and that’s all it is. Very prolonged introduction. Could have been much shorter.

Opening sound clip gives you a sense right away of the topic. Nice flow and voice, but can’t help but draw a comparison to Kanye in that respect. Dope content. Switching up the flow with versatility. “Stimulus” line I didn’t fully get, some muddy pronunciation there. Not feeling the chorus, not well sung.
Eric – Quirky metaphor, but not bad. From there until the buddha line is abstract. Vocals could have been mixed better, hard to hear at times.

Chuckle-worthy track intro. Thoughtz – Tight rhyme scheme. Good mic presence. Quirky skit at the end of the verse.
YC – Dope delivery, mic presence, and rhyme scheme. “Clockwork” ok. “Day off” hehe, that’s happened to me.
Dre – Rides the beat well. No real standout lines from either MC on this track.

Feeling the Wylcef-ish type flow on this. Cool use of vocal effects. “Down with the beat/comatose” ok. Diggin’ this chorus, goes very well with the beat. Pretty decent, yet overdone, bridge into an awesome beat switch. Good use of vocabulary.

Nice topic. “Raisinette eyes”, “Ribs”. Dope chorus, but first verse was more about an edible girl. “From my candystand” haha! Ok here are some reference to being “Mr. Edible”. “Sour patch kids” Haha!!!
Geronimo – Good delivery. “Four ways to split that” stood out. Vocal mixing could have been better.

“Snappy happy neck” Hehe. Dope allegory and topic. Flow was alright for the most part, but a couple of rushed lines were in there (ie. “I knew this was right”).

Another unique topic. Nice content. Very short.

Yet another sick concept. Captivating story progression. Delivery is on-point. “Just killed a boy who thought he was my man” pretty good ending.

Nice rhyme scheme… but “Head spinnin” is repeated too much. Cool chorus. “Façade” line is rushed flow-wise. “Soul’s into you” tight. Beginning of “solar system” sequence threw me off at first. “Seed/Grow with ya” works.

“Like the clown fish” the flow on that was off. Chorus is decent. “Get Betha” semi-forced at best. After 2 minutes, only a bridge and chorus is left with a short outro. Would have rather heard another verse.

Dope topic. Lyrics are heavy in detail. Feeling the energy and delivery on this track. The song was well-written for the beat. Chorus is pretty cool. This track should have been further up in the playlist.

12. F.L.I.P feat BLACK MAGIC
Flow is a tad choppy. Chorus is nice.
Black Magic – Good voice. Basic flow. Outro was too long. No one wants to hear that much talking, no matter the topic.

13. SICK MC feat Epiphany Blu and Lex
“Da-feet/defeat” played. Chorus was alright.
Lex – “Arthritis” not bad. Sequence was very on-topic though. Some obvious metaphors though.
Epiphany – Lyrics were hard to follow. I’m not sure if it’s her pronunciation or her writing.

Interview skit. Was somewhat funny.

“Similes best sport” slurred. “Bars don’t sound right” I liked that line, although there was no clear punch there. Good emotion. “Tings” forced. Last minute is left for shoutouts.

Beat rides for a while before the verse. Nice rhyme scheme. Chorus is tight, although a bit repetitive. “Mind over matter” nice.
Geronimo – Rudimentary flow. Delivery is held back by the flow at parts.
Ars – Tight flow. “Launchpad” dope.

Another speaking joint. It doesn’t provide anything new. Drags on.

Opening intro and Dre’s verses are identical to Pt. 1. Would have benefited with some sort of change in those aspects and production.
Otis – Lyrics aren’t very complex, but cohesive.

+ Great quality and variety of song topics.
+ Rhyme scheme and delivery were on-point.
+ Songs were well-tailored to J Dilla’s beats.

- Flow was on for the most part, but was inconsistent in some songs. Laggy and rushed lines both showed up at times.
- A lot of the songs sounded the same. I don’t believe this had to do with Dilla’s beats, but more so with similarity in delivery throughout the tape.
- Too much speaking; a couple skits were just too long.
- Overuse of repetitive and/or chant-like bridges and outros.
- Hardly any standout lines. Poetic devices were used sparingly and ineffectively.

Compatibility/Appeal Rating:
Underground: 65%
Mainstream: 35%

Favorite Song: Mr. Edible

Face Value: 8/10



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mixtape Review: "You're Welcome" by YC The Cynic

1. State I.D.
Funky beat. Standout delivery that leaves every punch-line and metaphors clearly heard. “Arbees but on beat” interesting flip of a played concept. Nice rhyme scheme. “Matador D”, what? Dope content. Clear voice and pronunciation. Vocal production is well done.

2. Kick Back
Early 90s sounding beat. Delivery really boosts the lyrics. Solid flow. Nice vocabulary. “I’m the bomb, detonate” ok, but based off of a played concept. “Taken back” sick! Content was alright.

3. Return of the Slick
“Doe ray/ dough rise” dope. Slick multi-syllables. Rhyme scheme, again, is on point. “Bet some rappers won’t wanna rap after this”, “In the building like government planes” stood out.

4. The Honor Society
1st MC – Nice vocabulary. Pronunciation is off at parts. “Bars/payday” played. Tight switch in delivery at the end.
2nd – “lemon face” ok. Flow is solid. Not much here.
YC – “Regents” ok. “Ya’ll squeamish” nice.
J Monopoly – “Best maine”, haha! Obscure reference though. Tight delivery. “Steering him wrong” too obvious. Funny adlibs.

5. In The City
Warren Britt – Starts off with intense energy and delivery. Nice content and flow.
Chorus is catchy. YC starts off with semi-abstract lines that don’t hit really hit the mark. “Still worm?” “Metal instead of leather/wheels turn” – this doesn’t make sense to me, wheels aren’t made of leather. Verse was lacking lyrical coherence.
Monop – “From Queens come kings” nice. Haha funny adlibs, “ante up”. Flow was solid, but some clear room for improvement.

6. The Disclaimer
“Prolly got herpes anyway.. .slore” HAHA!!!

7. Chris Brown’s Latest Hit
“You just gave me herpes” haha! “If I ain’t got a rug” ok. Dope concept, very entertaining. Chorus is simple but funny. The singing is hilarious. Abstract lines. Seemed to go off topic on that last verse.

Nice wordplay. “Follow suit” ok. “Pass the light like astronauts” doesn’t make sense. Rhyme scheme and delivery is, again, ridiculous! “Mozart” dope.

9. The Blogspot
Nice beat, I’m feelin this. Expansive vocabulary. No standout lines, just a blog advertisement.

10. The Bad Seed
Beat is wild. “Pardoned from an archship”? Pronunciation wasn’t as good in this track. 2nd MC – “Purse” haha. “Killing time” ok.
3rd – Nice flow. “Tennis scout” corny.

11. Lost
1st – “Kick it hard” played/simple. Was off-topic first half of verse.
YC – Some cool verbal play. Some abstract lines. Topic cohesion ambiguous.
Hipnotic – Flow is nice. Solid rhyme scheme. Short verse.

12. Where’s Lauren (Take It Easy Rmx)
Diggin’ this beat. “Dancin’ for change” ouch! “Knows Johnny McCain”nice. Dope vocab and content. Rhyme scheme bulging!

13. Say Superman
“In these shoes”, “In three moves” dope. Steady stream of tight one-liners. Chorus is catchy and intelligent. “X-games Cynic”, “Definite” tight. [Note: For more on this song, peep my review of “Fighting For Futures Worldwide” by Various Artists. (Feb.)]

14. Be Aware (Kings of New York)
Chorus is ok. “Hung with rope” alright. Vocal production not great, loud breaths in particular stood unedited. Abstract lines. I can definitely appreciate a Christopher Walken sound clip.

+ Delivery is poignant, emphatic, and clear. The number one standout weapon in YC’s arsenal.
+ The beats, while similar in style, fit YC’s archetype perfectly.
+ Some dope lines here and there.
+ Extensive vocabulary.
+ Solid guest MCs.

- While delivery was A+, it did not change much at all. YC has a very clear-cut and consistent formula that does not surprise you.
- A lot of abstract lines.
- Majority of topics weren’t very unique.

Compatibility/Appeal Rating:
Underground: 60%
Mainstream: 40%

Favorite Song: Return of the Slick

Face Value: 8.3/10



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mixtape Review: "Ode 2 Dilla" by Scienze

1. Intro
“Outro of my mind” nice. “Donuts” somewhat forced/abstract. Vocal production is on point, crisp with proper echoes. Nice delivery for this beat. Flow is solid. What’s with the donuts? Maybe I’m missing a reference. [UPDATE: Donuts is the name of a J Dilla album.]

2. Jamaal
Starts very abstract. “Are you/ or working for a” ok. “In a box/Stationary like cereal” played but flipped nicely. “Straight and arrow/turn” nice. After about 3:40 beat rides out for well over 2 minutes. I understand this is an ode to a producer but this isn’t acceptable.

3. Light Work ft. I.D.R.
Long intro but the beat is interesting enough for it to work. Vocal effect fits the beat well. Good use of multi-syllables. Rhyme scheme provides good segues between lines. “Shoe size” sounds forced.

4. Concrete Rose ft. Wacky Jr. & Fresco Love
Opening verse has a beat-appropriate old-school flow. “Drop” ok, nice effect though. “Heart hits you first” dope sequence. 3rd artist – not feeling the delivery. Flow is very basic.

5. Back Pack Raps
“Stay on traps” ok, but not well explained. “Food for thought/bananas will appeal” Bananas/appeal played but “food for thought” link makes up for it. “Spray on daps” dope. “Scienze blows up” nice.

6. Kwality by Talib Kweli
Quick skit that gives you some J Dilla background.

7. More Beats ft. Top $ Raz & Rich Daname
Flow is tight. “No progress reports” nice.
Raz – Good rhyme scheme. “African dance” solid. “Make an odd number out of dimes” ok.
Rich – Too much echo effect. “We just spark em” ok, played homonym usage but flipped uniquely. Not much direction or focus in content.

8. Ode 2 Love (Pre-Dream) by HERo
Female MC has an old school vibe and a nice voice. Lisp can be distracting though. This track seems out of place, Scienze only appears at the end with a chant.

9. Dream Me
Feelin’ the chorus. Delivery fits the beat well. Dope content, very smooth. “Plane/cupid” sequence is tight. Rhyme scheme is on-point. Humming at the end works well with the beat.

10. InterMISSION
“Writing songs backwards” nice, but odd punch. Quick track.

11. Mind Fuck’d
Nice vocal effects, reminds me of how Dead Weather does their effects. “Time’s up/under it” metaphor is played. Dope rhyme scheme. Sick delivery. “Oxen” haha! “Prophet/profit” been played, but your rhyme scheme on this makes up for it. “Wet like a faucet” sooo played.

12. Fall In Love ft. Joe Hidro & Kaito
Chorus is decent. Nice opening sequence. “Laid back/ never reclining” contradictory. “Parallel/perfect alignment” dope!
2nd – Curses used as filler. Sterile and basic flow. Lacks emotion.

13. Circus ft. I.D.R. & Joe Hidro
The simile in this chorus is plain silly but kinda catchy. “Flipped on me” nice. Not feelin the flow or delivery though.
2nd – Basic flow and lyrics. Mic presence lacking.
Sci – Brings the simile alive in this verse. I wish the other two lyricists did the same. “Ringmaster/ring/king/queen”, “Feel like a clown” dope!! “Tight rope” sequence could have been done better, but ok.

14. Sleeping Awake
“Countin’ the sheep until they run out” ok. “Bring the ton out” decent. Nice rhyme scheme. “Run out” alright.

15. Sweet ‘n’ Low, Half ‘n’ Half
Damn this beat is SICK! Rhyme scheme is INSANE. “Caprendo.capiche/plain and simple” dope. Verse ends flatly. “Fart is” immature but very funny!

16. Sunday Morning
Interesting concept. “Bling” haha! “Made the toilet a chair” hehe. “Night to see” nice.

17. Ode 2 Dilla
Long skit with props to Dilla. A lot of peeps contributing so it stays fairly interesting.

18. Flyyyyy
“livin’ fast like Sonic” ok. Sick rhyme scheme. Lyrics are very abstract on this track. “The air up there can kill ya” nice. “Voltronic” dope.

19. On The 1 (Outro)
Long outro speaking on Dilla. Could have been much shorter.

+ Catchy, varied, and slick rhyme scheme that makes every track different despite similar track vibes.
+ Flow was solid and consistent throughout the tape.
+ Rode and melded with Dilla’s beats cohesively.
+ Delivery was well suited to beats and topics.
+ Vocal production and effects were impressive for the majority of tracks

- Too many abstract lines and punches.
- Guest MCs were not very impressive overall.
- Some songs did not have much thematic focus.
- Not many standout punch-lines or use of poetic devices.
- Many played punch-lines.

Compatibility Rating:
Underground: 65%
Mainstream: 35%

Favorite Song: Mind Fuck’d

Face Value: 8.3/10